Last night I went to a training at our foster care agency. It really didn't end up being a lot of new information, but what I did get from it was personal stories of experience from other foster parents who are in the trenches and have had to say goodbye. I was the only one there who hasn't had to...YET. It just started me on thinking about having to say goodbye to Little Man...how our kids are going to take him leaving...how L.M. is going to feel becoming an only child with no one he knows (well) around. It also brought me back to the day that Mr. I's foster momma gave him over to me. I have a totally different perspective of that day now. She had him for the first year of his life and walked a very similar road to us.
I *know* that we are doing God's will. I know that we are doing what He has asked us to do. I know that it's best for children with be with their biological parents. I know that reunification is always the goal for foster care.
Even though I *know* all these things it isn't going to make my grief any less. I don't think I will be able to do it again if I don't cry those tears, grieve and heal. We were the ones who spent late nights with him when he was sick...we took him to the hospital...we took him to the specialist and pediatrician appts....we dealt with all those crazy days/nights when he was teething...we taught him to sit, crawl and stand....we saw his first steps...we heard his first words...we prayed over that child when he was initially grieving and so much more. We can't just turn that off. We can't pretend that he wasn't a member of our family. It came to my attention that certain case workers may expect that to happen. I will kindly let them know about our experience.
I am not looking forward to that day, but I do have peace that when it is time, that God's grace is sufficient for our healing and it will also keep Little Man safe. I have to trust that the system (although it fails often) has done what it needs to do to ensure it is the right time for him to return. I have ZERO control there. I can definitely say that my faith in God has increased since starting this journey of foster care and I know He is with us at each step...even when that first goodbye has to happen.